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ArticleA unique seasonal pattern in dissolved elemental mercury in the South China Sea, a tropical and monsoon-dominated marginal sea(John Wiley & Sons, 2013-01-16) Tseng, Chun-Mao ; Lamborg, Carl H. ; Hsu, Shih-ChiehA unique seasonal pattern in dissolved elemental mercury (DEM) was observed in the tropical monsoon-dominated South China Sea (SCS). The DEM concentration varied seasonally, with a high in summer of 160 ± 40 fM (net evasion 580 ± 120 pmol m−2 d−1, n = 4) and a low in winter of 60 ± 30 fM (net invasion −180 ± 110, n = 4) and showed a positive correlation with sea surface temperature (SST). The elevated DEM concentration in summer appears mainly abiologically driven. In winter, the SCS acts as a sink of atmosphere Hg0 as a result of low SST and high wind of the year, enhanced vertical mixing, and elevated atmospheric gaseous elemental mercury. Annually, the SCS serves as a source of Hg0 to the atmosphere of 300 ± 50 pmol m−2 d−1 (385 ± 64 kmol Hg yr−1, ~2.6% of global emission in ~1% of global ocean area), suggesting high regional Hg pollution impacts from the surrounding Mainland (mostly China).
ArticleMercury in the anthropocene ocean(The Oceanography Society, 2014-03) Lamborg, Carl H. ; Bowman, Katlin ; Hammerschmidt, Chad R. ; Gilmour, Cindy ; Munson, Kathleen M. ; Selin, Noelle ; Tseng, Chun-MaoThe toxic metal mercury is present only at trace levels in the ocean, but it accumulates in fish at concentrations high enough to pose a threat to human and environmental health. Human activity has dramatically altered the global mercury cycle, resulting in loadings to the ocean that have increased by at least a factor of three from pre-anthropogenic levels. Loadings are likely to continue to increase as a result of higher atmospheric emissions and other factors related to global environmental change. The impact that these loadings will have on the production of methylated mercury (the form that accumulates in fish) is unclear. In this article, we summarize the biogeochemistry of mercury in the ocean and use this information to examine past impacts that human activity has had on the cycling of this toxic metal. We also highlight ways in which the mercury cycle may continue to be affected and its potential impact on mercury in fish.
ArticleSeasonal changes in gaseous elemental mercury in relation to monsoon cycling over the northern South China Sea(Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2012-08-16) Tseng, Chun-Mao ; Liu, Char-Shine ; Lamborg, Carl H.The distribution of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) was determined in the surface atmosphere of the northern South China Sea (SCS) during 12 SEATS cruises between May 2003 and December 2005. The sampling and analysis of GEM were performed on board ship by using an on-line mercury analyzer (GEMA). Distinct annual patterns were observed for the GEM with a winter maximum of 5.7 ± 0.2 ng m−3 (n = 3) and minimum in summer (2.8 ± 0.2; n = 3), with concentrations elevated 2–3 times global background values. Source tracking through backward air trajectory analysis demonstrated that during the northeast monsoon (winter), air masses came from Eurasia, bringing continental- and industrial-derived GEM to the SCS. In contrast, during summer southwest monsoon and inter-monsoon, air masses were from the Indochina Peninsula and Indian Ocean and west Pacific Ocean. This demonstrates the impact that long-range transport, as controlled by seasonal monsoons, has on the Hg atmospheric distribution and cycling in the SCS.